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Publication numberUS3877367 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 15, 1975
Filing dateMay 11, 1973
Priority dateMay 11, 1973
Publication numberUS 3877367 A, US 3877367A, US-A-3877367, US3877367 A, US3877367A
InventorsEugene R Norwood
Original AssigneeNorwood Machinery & Equipment
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for printing boxes moving on a conveyor
US 3877367 A
Abstract
An intermittent imprint device for printing packages such as cartons while the cartons are moving on a conveyor. The device includes a marker which is suspended adjacent the conveyor from a carriage which has an abutment device positionable to contact the moving carton to carry the marking device along with the carton in sliding relationship to the carriage support. Return mechanisms are provided to return the marker to its initial position and a trip switch is provided to actuate the marker to bring it into contact with a side of the box while the marker is moving therewith.
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United States Patent 1 Norwood Apr. 15, 1975 [75] Inventor: Eugene R. Norwood, Downers Grove, Ill.

[73] Assignee: Norwood Machinery & Equipment Co., Downers Grove, Ill.

[22] Filed: May 11, 1973 [21] App]. No.: 359,273

[52] US. Cl. 101/44; 101/426; 10l/D1G. 3

3,177,802 4/1965 Stevens 101/44 3,641,930 2/1972 Riddington.. 101/35 3,765,326 l0/1973 Hawkins 101/44 Primary Examiner-Clifford D. Crowder Attorney, Agent, or FirmHil1, Gross, Simpson, Van Santen, Steadman, Chiara & Simpson [57] ABSTRACT An intermittent imprint device for printing packages such as cartons while the cartons are moving on a conveyor. The device includes a marker which is suspended adjacent the conveyor from a carriage which has an abutment device positionable to contact the moving carton to carry the marking device along with the carton in sliding relationship to the carriage support. Return mechanisms are provided to return the marker to its initial position and a trip switch is provided to actuate the marker to bring it into contact with a side of the box while the marker is moving therewith.

11 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures {10a J 14 E l PATENTEDAPR 1 5:915

SHEET 2 Bf 2 DEVICE FOR PRINTING BOXES MOVING ON A CONVEYOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to marking devices and more particularly to a moving box printer.

2. Prior Art Intermittent printing devices which are designed to move into contact with a surface to imprint thereon and then to withdraw from the surface are common. One such use has been for imprinting indicia such as price or code dating indicia on packages such as cartons during the packing process at the end of a production line. Since the cartons are normally moving, it has been necessary to design markers which are capable of coming into contact with the moving box without resulting in a smearing of the imprint. A typical solution to this problem has involved the use of a stationary position imprint marker together with a means on the conveyor for stopping the box momentarily.

This type of solution, however, can cause backup problems on the conveyor. In order to prevent this, it has been known to use rotary imprint markers which rotate into contact with the moving box so that the contact between the type face on the marker and the box is a contact which occurs at a relative speed of zero between the type face and the box.

This solution, although overcoming the disadvantages associated with stopping the box is not entirely satisfactory. To the extent that the box may be slipping on the conveyor, it is difficult to time the rotation of the imprint marker with the movement of the box. One solution to this has been a friction drive between a surface of the box and the imprint marker. This, however, has resulted in smeared printing. A further disadvantage is the fact that using a rotary imprint marker, the type size or the size of the imprint which can be created is necessarily limited by the radius of the rotating member. Further, accurate positioning of the imprint is difficult to obtain.

It would therefore be an advance in the art if an intermittent imprint device were provided which could imprint relatively large indicia on moving boxes without interfering with the movement of the boxes and without smearing the imprint. It would be a further advance if such a construction could be made which provided for accurately placing the imprint.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION My invention overcomes the above disadvantages of the prior art and provides an imprint marker for moving boxes which has the ability to imprint large type or large amounts of printed indicia on a moving box without interfering with movement of the box and without smearing the imprint. Further, my device accurately positions the imprint with respect to the edges of the box so that the imprint on successive boxes will be in the same position.

Basically, my device envisions the use of an intermittent imprint marker which is actuated by an air cylinder or the like and which moves in one plane towards or away from a surface of a box moving on a conveyor.

The marker is suspended on a carriage which allows the marker to be moved in a plane parallel to the direction of movement of the box on the conveyor. The carriage has an abutment member which contacts a leading face of the moving box so that the movement of the box causes the carriage to move the marker along with the box. When the marker is moving with the box, a trip mechanism actuates the cylinder to move the type face into contact with the surface of the box. Because the abutment member is positioned a given distance from the marker, the marker will always strike the box a given distance from the leading edge of the box. Means are provided to position the carriage assembly with respect to the conveyor so that the marker will be positioned in a given spot relative to the width of the box. In this manner, the marker will imprint successive boxes in the same spot. Because the marker is moving at the same speed as the box, there will be no smearing of the imprint. Further, because the marker is not a rotating marker, there is no strict limitation on the size of the type or the amount of the type which can be used thereby allowing a large imprint. Mechanisms are provided to release the abutment after imprint and to return the carriage to its initial position where the abutment will engage the leading surface of the next box on the conveyor.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a moving box printer.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a moving box printer which moves an imprint marker along with a box on a conveyor at the same speed as the box and which actuates the marker to imprint the box.

It is another and more specific object of this invention to provide a moving box printerhaving an intermittent imprint marker carried by a carriage which is equipped with a means for moving the carriage along with a box on a conveyor whereby during movement of p the carriage the imprint marker is actuated to imprint indicia on the box, the device being equipped with return mechanisms to return the carriage to its initial position after imprinting.

It is general object of this invention to provide a moving box printer which has an imprinter which moves along with the box while the box in on a conveyor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of the imprinter of this invention positioned above a conveyor belt;

FIG. 2 is an end view partially in section of the imprinter of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a view of the inker portion of the imprinter of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 1 illustrating the imprinter of this invention in the process of imprinting indicia on the box; and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of the imprinter of this invention illustrating the release of the abutment device.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings although variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the disclosure.

FIG. 1 illustrates a moving box printer 10 according to this invention. The printer includes a support assembly 11, a carriage assembly 12, an imprinter assembly 13, an inker assembly 14 and an abutment assembly 15. These assemblies are positioned above a conveyor 16. The conveyor is a product conveyor along which move a series of product containing packages such as boxes 17.

It is the intent of this invention to provide an imprinter which is suspended with respect to the conveyor in such a way that the imprinter device will move with a box on the conveyor and will be brought into contact with a surface of the box to print indicia thereon. My invention provides such an imprinter which has an imprinting assembly carried by a carriage which has an I abutment assembly which abuts the leading edge of a box to move the carriage along with the box. Thus the movement of the system is dependent entirely upon the movement of the box thereby eliminating any need for timing devices or sensing devices to control the movement of the imprinter with respect to the movement of the box. In this manner slippage of the box on the conveyor does not affect the relative movement between the imprinter and the box.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the support assembly consists of a frame member 20, which may for example be a self-standing frame or may be a portion of machinery associated with the conveyor or with the production line which includes a conveyor. Attached to the frame are two spaced apart L-shaped support members 22 and 23. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the support members 22 and 23 consist of legs 24 and 25, one of which overlies the frame 20 and is attached thereto in an adjustable manner by a tightenable bolt 26 extending through an elongated opening 27 which allows the leg 24 to be moved so that the depending leg is positionable toward and away from the frame 20. It will be understood that in the embodiment illustrated, the moving box printer is described as being positioned above the conveyor. In certain embodiments, the moving box printer may be positioned alongside the conveyor so that the imprint assembly will mark the sides of the box. However, in conformity with the illustration as shown, the legs 25 can be described as a depending vertical leg. The legs 25 of the support members 22 and 23 are positioned over the conveyor 16 or immediately alongside and above the conveyor.

The support assembly includes end members and 31 which are attached to the vertical legs 25 by adjustable bolts 27 which extend through elongated openings 28 in the depending legs and are fastened into the end members 30 and 31. In this manner the end members are attachable to the vertical legs 25 in an adjustable position along a portion of the length of the vertical legs. A pair of support shafts 33 extend between the end members 30, 31 in spaced apart relation and are attached to the end members as by journalling the support shafts 33 through openings 37 in the end members. The carriage 12 is supported on the support shafts and has a head portion 40 with openings 41 therethrough. The support shafts 33 extend through the openings 41 and the openings, if desired, may be fitted with linear motion bearing assemblies. The carriage is slidable on the support shafts between the end members 30 and 31 from an initial or first position adjacent member 30 to a second position adjacent member 31.

The carriage includes two depending vertical rods 42 which are positioned over the conveyor 16. A yoke 44 is suspended between the rods 42 and is movable vertically thereon. The yoke is attached to the power arm 47 of a double acting hydraulic air cylinder 48 which in turn is attached and carried by the head portion 40 of the carriage 12. Thus actuation of the power arm 47 will cause the yoke to move upwardly or downwardly on the rods 42. The yoke 47 carries the imprinter assembly l3 suspended therebelow. In this manner actuation of the air cylinder will move the imprinter assem- -bly vertically of the carriage. Since the carriage and the rods 42 are suspended over the conveyor 16, actuation of the air cylinder 48 will move the imprinter assembly 13 towards and away from the conveyor. A control valve 50 is mounted atop the carriage and has pneumatic conduits 51 attached thereto. One of said conduits supplies a constant source of pressurized air to the valve and the other conduits communicate the valve with the inlets 52 at the ends of the air cylinder 48.

In the preferred embodiment, the valve 50 is designed so that when in a normal un-tripped position, it will supply high pressure air to the lower end of the air cylinder to maintain the imprinter head at an elevated position. When actuated, the valve 50 will supply pressurized air to the cylinder to force the imprinter assembly toward the conveyor 16.

The imprinter assembly 16 includes a housing member and imprinting type 61 depending from the housing. The type may be detachable or may be permanently affixed to the housing and may, for example, include selectively changeable type carrying bands or the like. In all instances, the type surface will project below the head member 60.

In order to cause the carriage to move along with a box 17 on the conveyor 16, the carriage includes a depending arm 65 at the end thereof remote from the leading end member 30, the leading end member being on the end of the printer assembly upstream of the conveyor. The arm 65 has a retract cam 66 pivotably attached thereon at 67. The bottom end 68 of the arm has a horizontal member 69 attached thereto. A carriage control roller 70 depends from the horizontal member and extends downwardly to a point below the top surface 71 of a box received on the conveyor. A linkage mechanism 75 connects the retract cam 66 to the carriage control roller 70 such that when the retract cam is pivoted upwardly, it will raise the carriage control roller to a position above the top surface 71 of the box. A spring means 76 is arranged to urge the carriage control roller, and through linkage the retract cam, downward to the position illustrated in FIG. 1.

It should be appreciated that when the moving box printer is located alongside a conveyor belt, that the movement of the retract cam and carriage control roller will be horizontal rather than vertical. It should be further appreciated that the illustrated linkage connection and method of pivoting the retract cam and carriage control roller are illustrative only and that other systems could be utilized, for example, a system where the carriage control roller is movable independently of the remaining portions of the arm 65 except for the retract cam. Alternatively, of course, the carriage control roller could be hydraulically actuated if desired with the actuation thereof controlled by a trip switch.

With the devices illustrated in FIG. 1 any box 17 moving along the conveyor will have its front surface 80 contacted by the carriage control roller 70. With the roller in its down position, this will cause the box to carry the carriage along with it. A limit switch cam is positioned on a cross member 91 extending between the end members 30, 31. As the carriage moves toward the limit switch cam, the valve 50 will be actuated to cause the imprinter assembly to move downwardly into contact with the top surface 71 of the box. Thereafter, further movement will cause the retract cam 66 to contact a roller 93 on the end member 31 downstream of the conveyor the roller 93 functioning as a stationary trip controlling release of the carriage control roller 70 from contact with the front surface 80 of the moving box. An inclined surface 94 of the retract cam will ride on the roller 93 causing the retract cam to pivot around the pivot 67 to lift the carriage control roller 70 from an A position where it can be contacted by the leading surface 80 to a B position above the top surface 71 of the box. Thereafter a spring means, illustrated at 95 being connected to both the carriage assembly and the end member 30, will cause the entire assembly to return to its original position as illustrated in FIG. 1. During the return, the carriage control roller 70 will ride along the top surface 71 of the box. As it reaches the trailing end 82 of the box, the spring means 76 will urge the carriage control roller downwardly into position to be contacted by the leading edge of a subsequent box.

In order to ink the type 61, the end member 30 has a depending leg 95 which extends downwardly from the support shafts and terminates in a horizontal member 96. The horizontal member 96 extends under the return or initial position of the carriage. An ink roller 97 is rotatably attached to a lever arm 98 which is pivotably connected adjacent a free end 99 of the horizontal member 96. The other end 100 of the lever arm underlies a thumb screw 101 carried by the extension of the end member 30. The thumb screw 101 will move the lever arm to raise and lower the ink roller. The ink roller is preferably positioned downstream of the initial point of the imprinter assembly and the thumb screw is adjusted so that the top of the ink roller is level with or slightly above the bottom of the type 61. In this manner, as is illustrated in FIG. 3, when the carriage is moved by contact with a box, the type will pass over the ink roller thereby inking the type prior to actuation of the air cylinder. The ink roller thus acts in cooperation with the movement of the carriage as an inking assembly to ink the type on each pass of the carriage.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, after the carriage has moved the type 61 past the ink roller 97, the valve 50 will be contacted and actuated by the limit switch cam 90 to cause the air cylinder 48 to extend the power arm 47 thereby urging the imprinting housing 60 downwardly to bring the type 61 into contact with the top surface 71 of the box and to return.

FIG. 5 illustrates the release of the carriage control roller 70 by contact between the retract cam 66 and the roller 93 on the end of member 31.

It should be appreciated that the only effective limitation on the size of the mark which can be imprinted on the box is the size of the imprinter housing 60 and the amount of type 61 that it can carry. Thus, by increasing the amount of type 61, the imprinted message can be increased if desired. Further, because the im-' printer assembly is carried by the yoke, it can be detachably mounted thereto as by means of bolts 105. This allows a quick change of the kind of imprinter being used. For example, an automatic sequencing imprinter may be used where it is desired to sequentially number or code the boxes being printed. Alternatively, a constant imprinter can be used where it is desired, for

example to print price information. Alternatively, if desired, imprint heads which are controlled from external sources may be utilized to imprint quantity, weight, or other indicia, the setting of the type being automatically controlled from an external input.

Additionally, since the type will always strike the box at a given point spaced from the leading edge, because of the fixed spacing between the imprint head and the carriage control roller, the simple provision of guide bars on'the conveyor, which will locate the boxes transversely of the movement of the conveyor, will assure that all imprinting of successive boxes occurs in the same spot. Thus, the boxes can be preprinted leaving a defined area to be final printed by the moving box printer of my invention. Of course where the moving box printer is used alongside of a conveyor and is designed to imprint the side of a box, it is only necessary to adjust the height of the end members 30 and 31 with respect to the conveyor to assure that the boxes will each be printed in the same spot.

It can therefore be seen from the above that my invention provides an imprint marker for use in connection with a conveyor to imprint boxes moving along the conveyor, the marker including a moving carriage carried by contact with a box on the conveyor, the carriage supporting an imprinter assembly which is actuated to imprint the box in dependent response to movement of the carriage. The assembly is provided with a return means to return the carriage to its original position after imprinting the box and an inking assembly to ink the type of the imprinter on each pass of the carriage.

Although the teachings of my invention have herein been discussed with reference to specific theories and embodiments and although illustrative means for accomplishing explained results have been described, it is tobe understood that these are by way of illustration only and that others may wish to utilize my invention in different designs or applications.

I claim as my invention:

1. A device for printing indicia on a surface of a moving product which comprises an imprinting type mounted on a carriage, said carriage mounted for longitudinal movement on a support member, said carriage movable along said support member, said support member extending in the direction of movement of the product, means selectively contacting the moving product causing said carriage to move on said support with said product, actuating means actuated in dependent response to movement of the carriage for bringing the type into contact with the moving product, while the carriage is moving with the product, means for withdrawing the type from the product, and means for returning the carriage to an initial position after imprinting the product.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the type is movably attached to the carriage and the actuating means causes the type to move in a plane normal to the plane of movement of the carriage.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for causing said carriage to move includes an abutment member attached to said carriage, said abutment member positioned relative to the line of movement of said product to abut a surface of said product, the abutting of the abutment member with the surface of said product causing said abutment member to move with said product, and means for withdrawing the abutment member to a second position where the abutment member will not be caused to move with the product.

4. An imprint marker for moving boxes for use in connection with a conveyor conveying a series of containers in a first direction, which comprises a support structure positioned adjacent said conveyor, said support structure including support means extending along the line of movement of the conveyor, a carriage assembly suspended from said support means for movement therealong, means biasing said carriage to an initial position, means depending from said carriage for abutment with a container on said conveyor to move said carriage by means of the abutment with said container along said support in the first direction, a type carrying member carried by said carriage, said type carrying member movable on said carriage in a second direction toward and away from said container on said conveyor, means responsive to movement of the carriage for actuating movement of said type carrying member and means selectively positioning said means depending from said carriage in a first position for abutment with a container and in a second position remote from the first position.

5. A moving box printer comprising a support shaft, a carriage movable along said support shaft, a movable yoke on said carriage, means for moving said yoke, a type carrying imprinter carried by said yoke, said means for moving said yoke actuated in dependent response to movement of said carriage along said support shaft, an abutment member on said carriage, said abutment member movable between a first position and a second position, said first position being in the path of travel of a moving box, contact between the abutment member and the moving box in the first position causing movement of the carriage, means for moving said abutment member to said second position in dependent response to the position of said carriage along the sup port shaft, the carriage free to move independently of the moving box when the abutment member is in the second position.

6. The printer of claim including means for inking type carried by said yoke, said means for inking contacting the type in dependent response to the position of said carriage on said shaft.

7. A method of imprinting moving boxes by an imprint marker positioned adjacent a stream of moving boxes, the imprint marker being movable in a planeparallel to the plane of movement of the boxes which comprises the steps of: positioning an imprint marker adjacent the conveyor, contacting a leading surface of a box moving on said conveyor by an abutment member attached to said imprint marker, moving the imprint marker along with the box by the contact between the abutment member and the leading surface, moving a portion of said imprint marker into contact with a I second surface of said box while said imprint marker is moving with said box, as a result of sensing the position of the imprint marker, withdrawing the said portion of the imprint marker from contact with the second surface of the box while said imprint marker is moving with the box, withdrawing the abutment member from contact with the said leading surface of the box, and returning the imprint marker to an initial position.

8. A marker device for marking moving containers for use in connection with a conveyor conveying a series of containers in a first direction which comprises a support structure positioned adjacent said conveyor,

said support structure including support means extending along the line of movement of the conveyor, a carriage assembly mounted on said support structure for movement therealong, means extending from said carriage to a first position for abutment with a container moving on said conveyor to move the carriage with said container along said support means in the first direction, a marking device on said carriage, trip means responsive to movement of said carriage for actuating said marking device to mark the container with which the carriage is moving, a stationary member for contacting the means extending from the carriage to move it to a second position out of abutment with the container thereby allowing the carriage to move independently of the container, and means for returning the carriage to an initial position.

9. The method of marking boxes moving on a conveyor which comprises the steps of positioning a marking device adjacent a conveyor, contacting a leading surface of a box moving on the conveyor by a member attached to the marking device, maintaining contact between the surface and the member, moving the member and the marking device with the box as a result of the contact between the member and the surface, actuating the marking device in dependent response to motion thereof, marking the box with the marking device, terminating actuation of the marking device, withdrawing the member-from contact with the leading surface and returning the marking device to an initial position.

10. A device for marking boxes on a conveyor which comprises: a means for marking, an abutment assembly associated with said means for marking positionable at a first position in front of a box moving on a conveyor to contact a leading surface of the box, a means for withdrawing at least portions of the abutment assembly to a second position alongside boxes moving on said conveyor, portions of the device movable with a box moving on said conveyor when the abutment assembly contacts a leading surface of the box, the portions of the device movable independently of boxes on said conveyor when the abutment device is in the second position, a stationary trip for actuating the means for withdrawing to move the abutment assembly portions to the second position, and the means for withdrawing actuated by contact with the stationary trip when the portions of the device have moved to a predetermined position, the actuation of the means for withdrawing being in dependent response to movement of the portions of the device caused by movement of the box.

11. A marking device for marking boxes moving on a conveyor which comprises: a marking assembly positioned adjacent the conveyor, the marking assembly movable from a first position to a second position downstream of the first position, the movement being alongside the conveyor, the second position being spaced from the first position in the direction of movement of the conveyor, means for returning the marking assembly to the first position, an abutment assembly on the marking assembly, portions of said abutment assembly being movable relative to portions of the marking assembly between A and B positions, said abutment assembly portions abutting a box moving on said conveyor when in said A position, means for returning the abutment assembly portions to the B position including a stationary trip for causing movement of the abutment assembly portions to the B position from the A position in dependent response to movement of the marking assembly from its first position to its second position.

Patent Citations
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US2776617 *Apr 6, 1953Jan 8, 1957Pannier CorpMetal stamping machine
US2819671 *May 18, 1956Jan 14, 1958Lily Tulip Cup CorpElectrically controlled apparatus for printing on moving articles
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4044676 *Feb 12, 1975Aug 30, 1977Milford-Astor LimitedPrinting mechanism
US4073122 *Apr 16, 1976Feb 14, 1978Markem CorporationPrinting apparatus
US4308793 *Dec 5, 1979Jan 5, 1982Estel Hoesch Werke AktiengesellschaftApparatus for stamping indicia on workpieces moving in a path
US4566386 *Nov 30, 1983Jan 28, 1986Norwood Marking & Equipment Co., Inc.Hot ink imprinter with swinging print head
US4635545 *Dec 24, 1984Jan 13, 1987American Can CompanyApparatus for marking moving articles
US5207153 *Nov 27, 1991May 4, 1993Harry ThomasonApparatus for applying printed matter to objects
US5967037 *Apr 16, 1998Oct 19, 1999Su; Chiung-FenPrinting machine having a lower box and an upper box adjustably supported on to the lower box
US6634729Jun 12, 2002Oct 21, 2003J.M. Huber CorporationApparatus for applying ink indicia to boards
EP0050980A1 *Oct 26, 1981May 5, 1982Kiwi Coders CorporationReciprocable imprinting apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification101/44, 101/484, 101/DIG.300
International ClassificationB41K3/64, B65B61/26, B41F17/24
Cooperative ClassificationY10S101/30, B41F17/24, B65B61/26
European ClassificationB41F17/24, B65B61/26
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 13, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: NORWOOD MARKING & EQUIPMENT CO., INC.
Effective date: 19830510
Owner name: WESTGREN HOLDING CORP., C/O MANDELL & ZAROFF, 5TH
May 13, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: MANUFACTURERS HANOVER TRUST COMPANY, A BANKING COR
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WESTGREN HOLDING CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004133/0740
Effective date: 19830510
Owner name: WESTGREN HOLDING CORP., C/O MANDELL & ZAROFF, 5TH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:NORWOOD MARKING & EQUIPMENT CO., INC.;REEL/FRAME:004129/0353